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Species life‐history strategies affect population responses to temperature and land‐cover changes

Albaladejo‐Robles, Gonzalo; Böhm, Monika; Newbold, Tim; (2022) Species life‐history strategies affect population responses to temperature and land‐cover changes. Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16454. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Human-induced environmental changes have a direct impact on species populations, with some species experiencing declines while others display population growth. Understanding why and how species populations respond differently to environmental changes is fundamental to mitigate and predict future biodiversity changes. Theoretically, species life-history strategies are key determinants shaping the response of populations to environmental impacts. Despite this, the association between species life histories and the response of populations to environmental changes has not been tested. In this study, we analysed the effects of recent land-cover and temperature changes on rates of population change of 1,072 populations recorded in the Living Planet Database. We selected populations with at least 5 yearly consecutive records (after imputation of missing population estimates) between 1992 and 2016, and for which we achieved high population imputation accuracy (in the cases where missing values had to be imputed). These populations were distributed across 553 different locations and included 461 terrestrial amniote vertebrate species (273 birds, 137 mammals, and 51 reptiles) with different life-history strategies. We showed that populations of fast-lived species inhabiting areas that have experienced recent expansion of cropland or bare soil present positive populations trends on average, whereas slow-lived species display negative population trends. Although these findings support previous hypotheses that fast-lived species are better adapted to recover their populations after an environmental perturbation, the sensitivity analysis revealed that model outcomes are strongly influenced by the addition or exclusion of populations with extreme rates of change. Therefore, the results should be interpreted with caution. With climate and land-use changes likely to increase in the future, establishing clear links between species characteristics and responses to these threats is fundamental for designing and conducting conservation actions. The results of this study can aid in evaluating population sensitivity, assessing the likely conservation status of species with poor data coverage, and predicting future scenarios of biodiversity change.

Type: Article
Title: Species life‐history strategies affect population responses to temperature and land‐cover changes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16454
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16454
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: climate, land-use change, life-histories, living planet index, macroecology, population trends, terrestrial vertebrates
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10157495
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